Friday, March 1, 2013

Fantastic Sophomore Novel from Darrel Nelson!


This week, the
is introducing  
The Return of Cassandra Todd
by 
Darrel Nelson



The Return of Cassandra Todd
by Darrel Nelson
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Suspense
Available February 2013
Charisma Media
304 pages

About the Book
When the popular girl whose friends bullied him in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, Turner Caldwell must put the past behind him if they are to survive.

Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time. On his way to class one day, he is shocked to see Cassandra Todd and her young son in town. The sight of her brings back powerful memories of being bullied in high school—she was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her friends’ mean-spirited pranks.

When Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, he finds himself entangled in a dangerous drama that will require him to forgive and draw on every skill he has if they are to survive.

My Thoughts
I was introduced to Darrel Nelson last year through the release of his debut novel, The Anniversary Waltz. I quickly realized that Darrel had a special talent for story-telling, and have eagerly anticipated the release of his second novel. I'm happy to say that—while very different from his debut novel—The Return of Cassandra Todd was just as good, if not better!

The first few pages provided great background for what was to come, yet immediately intrigued me. Throughout the rest of the book, Nelson balanced the need for background information, plot development, and an intensity that kept me furiously turning the pages.

Turner was a great character. He's overcome a horrible high school experience only to continue facing trials within his family. When Cassandra and her son turn to him for help, he willingly assists them, but things quickly get out of control. I loved his protective nature and how he used his wilderness survival skills to get them out of one tough situation after another. It was interesting to watch the friendship between Turner and Cassandra grow and show him that God could still use him, in spite of himself.

The suspense throughout the novel surprised me—both that the book was suspenseful and the intensity of it. Several of the twists really caught me off guard, and that's pretty hard to do. :)

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: One final thing I feel bears mentioning is the fact that the publisher labeled Cassandra Todd as a "romance." When I realized that the heroine was married, I was a little uncomfortable with the idea of a Christian romance novel featuring a married woman. HOWEVER, after reading the entire book, I don't feel that the book was truly a "romance" novel (much more of a suspense!). The relationship between Turner and Cassandra is truly a friendship worth embracing, and I loved how the author tackled this unique situation.

Overall, The Return of Cassandra Todd is a stellar read—a perfect blend of emotion and suspense, and I cannot recommend it highly enough! [4.5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Charisma Media and CFBA in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.

Darrel Nelson Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

2 comments:

  1. Brooke, let me thank you again for reading and reviewing my novel. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement. Hopefully, you'll also enjoy my future novel, Following Rain. Also, I'm still willing to do a blog interview, so let me know when is a convenient time for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Darrel! Looking forward to reading Following Rain! And I'll be in touch soon about the interview. :)

      Delete

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